In fact, James feels like the league planning to play the annual game is a “slap in the face” considering the short offseason and packed schedule.
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James, a 16-time All-Star, told reporters after the Lakers beat the Nuggets on Thursday. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.”
The NBA is plotting to have this year’s All-Star Game in Atlanta on March 7, per ESPN. Instead of the extended weekend of festivities, the All-Star celebration would be contained to one night, including a game and skills competition. The NBA will be on a break from March 5-10.
LeBron James on All-Star Game: ‘It’s Out of My Hands’
ESPN reported that the NBA and player union are “increasingly confident” that the league’s high-profile players will show up for an All-Star game. While James’ comments indicate he wouldn’t be happy with the game being played, he did say he’d show up.
“[There was] a short offseason for myself and my teammates — 71 days — and then coming into the season, we were told we were not having an All-Star game so we had a nice little break,” James said. “Five days from the 5th to 10th, an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season, my teammates as well, some of the other guys in the league.
“Obviously, the pandemic has absolutely nothing to do with it at this point when it comes to that weekend. Obviously, you guys can see that I’m not very happy about it. But it’s out of my hands. I’ll be there if I’m selected. But I’ll be there physically but not mentally.”
The comments from James — the league’s biggest star — come a day after Kings guard De’Aaron Fox slammed the idea of the league hosting the exhibition game.
“If I’m going to be brutally honest, I think it’s stupid,” Fox told reporters. “If we have to wear a mask and do all of this for a regular game, then what’s the point of bringing the All-Star Game back?”
The All-Star Game has been a mandatory event in the past for players who are selected, but that could change this time around due to COVID-19.
LeBron James Leads Western Conference in All-Star Votes
It was no surprise that James was the leading vote-getter in the Western Conference when the first round of All-Star voting was released on Thursday. James garnered nearly 2.28 million votes, while Kevin Durant led the Eastern Conference with over 2.3 million votes.
Anthony Davis also made the list, coming in at No. 4 among frontcourt players at 1.19 million.
James will be happy to add another All-Star selection to his resume but is also in the running for a fifth MVP. James is averaging 25.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.7 assists at 36 years old in his 18th season. He’s also shooting a career-high 40.9% from beyond the arc.
“You have to change with the times, I guess. You have to continue to evolve,” James told reporters after hitting a season-high seven 3-pointers against the Cavaliers during the Lakers’ recent road trip. “For me, never putting a cap on my ceiling. I just want to always continue to get better and do things out on the floor that maybe hasn’t been done in other people’s careers.”
James also has the Lakers primed for a repeat, moving to 17-6 after beating the Nuggets on Thursday. The Lakers are a half-game back of the Jazz for the best record in the NBA.
The Lakers have a chance to avenge one of their six losses as the Pistons come to town on Saturday. Detroit handed the Lakers their worst loss of the season so far, 107-92, back on Jan. 28.